Letters To A Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke

Posted: November 12, 2009 in Personal Reading Projects, Reviews
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We read numerous books in our lifetime but a select few stay in our memory as fresh as it has been read this day itself.  Each of us has these all time favorites . I too have a few and I made an addition to that list when I turned the last page of Rilke’s Letters To A Young Poet.

It’s a slim volume but never go by looks. These 10  letters were Rilke ‘s response to Franz Kappus , a new  recruit to the  military academy in Germany , who had sent his poetry to Rilke to ask for his opinion. The senior poet starts the first letter with his honest opinion and goes on in his subsequent correspondence in to the depths of creativity , imagination and  its utilisation . It’s not just about poetry but also some very important lessons in life that these letters address to. He doesn’t preach , just tells the young man who is seemingly confused and dejected in life due to his failure in the field of poetry , to take heart , to learn new things and try to find satisfaction in his work not for the sake of others but for his inner happiness.

Reading this book is kind of experience in itself and I know I would want to read it again , very soon. Not because I  would have forgotten the matter , but because it has certain things which we constantly need to remind our selves .

I will leave you with a few lines that  I loved :

It is also good to love: because love is difficult. For one human being to love another human being: that is perhaps the most difficult task that has been entrusted to us, the ultimate task, the final test and proof, the work for which all other work is merely preparation. That is why young people, who are beginners in everything, are not yet capable of love: it is something they must learn.

So you mustn’t be frightened, dear Mr. Kappus, if a sadness rises in front of you, larger than any you have ever seen; if an anxiety, like light and cloud-shadows, moves over your hands and over everything you do. You must realize that something is happening to you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand and will not let you fall.

This would make an ideal gift to  students who are just finishing school and are  about to step in to the world . Even other wise this would be a great gift to anyone who loves reading.

Highly recommended.

My rating 5 out of 5

  1. Veens says:

    Wow! I never knew about this one! The quotes that you have posted are very appealing! I will keep a look out for this one for sure!

  2. bibimukh says:

    The quotes are so deep, wonderful…I will read this book for sure.

  3. Violet says:

    Those are some beautiful passages, I’ve heard about this book but never really thought about reading it. I’ll keep an eye out for this one.

  4. Aarti says:

    Excellent quote selections 🙂 I haven’t even heard of this book before. Thanks for the heads-up.

  5. birdyshack says:

    My friend has this book and she was in fact telling me to read it, and now after seeing those quotes I really must! 🙂